Local Ames food pantry, library and schools help feed families in the summer

Local Ames food pantry, library and schools help feed families in the summer

Celia Brocker

Ames Tribune

Read article here: https://www.amestrib.com/story/news/local/2024/06/18/the-local-food-pan…

United Way of Story County at the Salvation Army Food Pantry.

United Way of Story County relies on community partnerships to identify hunger needs and establish support throughout the summer.

Story County was estimated to have a food insecurity rate of 9% in 2022, according to the nonprofit's most recent data.

Twenty-seven percent of all students in Story County were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in the 2023-24 school year.

United Way of Story County Community Impact Director Anneke Mundel said they used to serve 3,500 families a month before experiencing a slight dip during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those numbers nearly doubled the pre-pandemic rate once the government stimulus checks ran dry.

The Ames Community School District offers the Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals at three sites on a first-come, first-served basis through July 18.

Lunch is served 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at Bethesda Lutheran Church (for Boys and Girls Club). The Mitchell Elementary School serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursdays during the summer. Sawyer Elementary School also serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday.

The Ames Public Library is also offering free lunches for kids and teens on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the library auditorium. Lunch is free to all youth 18 years and younger, while meals for adults are $3.50. Library cards are not required for meals.


Donations for the 2024 Food Drive Live United Food Drive.


Ames emergency food pantry receives grant


Food security continues to spread as the cost of living rises.

"Inflation is really hitting folks' pocketbooks, and we're seeing that across the board," Mundel said. "It's amazing and alarming because we're not seeing the need going down, we're seeing it growing."

The Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Food Pantry at 230 SE 16th Street in Ames strives to reduce local food insecurity. The food pantry is available to any Story County resident. 

The pantry was recently awarded a $9,000 grant from Bayer Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer in the United States. The funds will be used for to purchase and deliver food, as well as operational expenses in the Story County Family Development Center, Bayer Fund Senior and Program Officer Amy Simpson said.

"MICA is committed to ensuring food insecure families in Story County who do not have transportation or are otherwise homebound have access to the monthly food box delivery service," Simpson said.

MICA’s Story County Emergency Food Pantry provides one emergency food box a month, which contains three to five days of food. Fresh items from community partners are also available that families can access daily.

MICA applies for the Bayer grant regularly, MICA Resource Development and Communications Coordinator Abra Dougherty said. Bayer has been a generous sponsor of the Emergency Food Pantry in Ames, she said, allowing MICA to help a large chunk of Story County residents.

"MICA tries to meet as many of the family’s needs when they come to our pantry, as possible," Dougherty said. "Being able to adequately staff our pantry to provide food, nutrition, and connections to other resources is vital."

United Way of Story County at Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Food Pantry in Ames


Ames youth have a free meal at the Ames Public Library in 2023.


Food pantries and programs in Ames

There are 15 food pantries and programs Ames residents can access.

They are:

  • Ames School District Food Pantries at District Office, Edwards Elementary, Mitchell Elementary - Contact: 515-520-2520. Details: For students and families of the Ames Community School District.
  • Ames Pet Food Bank. Address: 915 N. 4th Street, Ames. Contact: Facebook: @amespetfoodbank. Details: Monthly dispersals. Watch Facebook for specific dates and times.
  • Bethesda Community Food Pantry. Address: 1517 Northwestern Ave, Ames. Contact: 515-232-6256. Open hours: Wednesdays 10-11:30 am, Tuesdays/Thursdays 1 – 3 p.m., Tuesdays 6:30 – 8 p.m. Details: Choice pantry. Clothing Closet available in same space.
  • Calvary United Methodist Food Pantry. Address: 1403 24th Street, Ames. Contact: 515-232-6329. Open hours: Tuesdays 2 – 3:30 p.m. Details: Visitors may come once per month for curbside service.
  • Food At First Meal Site & Free Market. Address: First Christian Church, 611 Clark Avenue, Ames. Contact: 515-344-HELP. Meals: Sundays thru Fridays, 5:45 – 6:15 p.m., Saturdays 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Pantry hours: Mondays & Thursdays, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., Saturdays 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance Emergency Food Vouchers. Address: 613 Clark Avenue, Ames. Contact: 515-296-1449. Call or email assistance@gnea.org. Details: Emergency food vouchers are available to purchase needed items at local grocery stores in Ames, Nevada, Huxley, and Slater. Available by appointment only.
  • Harvest Vineyard Church Food Assistance Program. Address: 320 S. 17th Street, Ames. Contact: 515-290-6881. Details: Food bags available Wednesdays 12 – 1 p.m. and 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. If you would like a food bag, please fill out this Care Bag Request Form. https://harvestvc.ccbchurch.com/goto/forms/444/responses/new. If you are unable to fill out the form, you may send an e-mail to "neighbor@harvestvc.org" or call the number listed.
  • Heartland Senior Services Senior Commodity Food Program - Contact: 1-877-288-3655 or 515-233-2906. Details: Supplemental food boxes available for eligible seniors 60 years or older.
  • Heartland Meals on Wheels - Contact: 515-357-4573 to set up or cancel services. Details: Mondays through Fridays in most of Story County. Prepares and delivers meals to those who are 60+ and meet the criteria.
  • Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Food Pantry - Address: 230 SE 16th Street, Ames. Contact: 515-956-3333. Open hours: Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 9 am – 4 pm, Tuesdays 12 – 4 p.m., Thursdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Details: Home delivery is available if needed.
  • Primary Health Care Farm to Clinic - Address: 3510 Lincoln Way, Ames. Contact: 515-232-0628. Details: Fresh produce available for patients during growing season.
  • Romero House Meal Site - Address: 709 Clark Avenue, Ames. Contact: 515-337-8088. Details: Free meals every Saturday evening.
  • Shared Blessings at Northminster Presbyterian Church - Address: 1416 20th Street (across from Ames High), Ames. Contact: 515-233-2540 Open hours: First Tuesday of month 1:30 – 3 p.m., 3rd Tuesday of month 6:30 – 8 p.m. Details: Offer diapers, TP, supplies.
  • The Salvation Army Food Pantry & Doing The Most Good Market - Address: 703 East Lincoln Way, Ames. Contact: 515-233-3567. Open hours: Mondays/Tuesdays/Fridays 1 – 3 p.m., Wednesdays/Thursdays 1 – 3:30 p.m. Details: Must be a resident of Story County. Pantry can be visited once per month and the market twice per week.
  • The SHOP Student Food Pantry at Iowa State University - Address: 1306 Beyer Hall, ISU campus, Ames. Open hours: Mondays, 1 – 6 p.m., Tuesdays 5 – 8 p.m., Wednesdays 2 – 7 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Details: For ISU students only.